A new trial would likely take place in May. If the jury returns a guilty verdict, the case will enter the second phase, where Monsanto's liability will be determined and damages may be awarded to the plaintiff.
This week's closing arguments followed a recent favorable ruling for the plaintiff this despite new revelations about Chhabria's past ties to Monsanto.
In a boost for the plaintiff, Chhabria last week dismissed Monsanto's latest move to end the trial, citing evidence that glyphosate herbicides (including Roundup) could have caused Hardeman's cancer. He ruled:
The plaintiffs have presented a great deal of evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of its product.
In his ruling, Chhabria also wrote: "There is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue.
Judge once worked for law firm that represented Monsanto
Chhabria's ruling in favor of the plaintiff came as a surprise to some, given the his overall handling of the Hardeman case, which ultimately sparked inquiry into whether Chhabria was biased in favor of the defense. The inquiry led to the revelation that Chhabria once worked for a law firm that's a "well-known defender of a variety of corporate interests, including Monsanto," according to reporting by Carey Gillam of U.S. Right to Know.
Chhabria was appointed by then-President Obama in 2013, for the seat he currently holds in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. But prior to that, he worked as an associate, from 2002-2004, at Covington & Burling LLP, a firm that helped Monsanto defend itself over the controversial recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), marketed under the brand name Posilac.
The judge worked for the firm when Monsanto was engulfed in an all-out legal battle over rBGH, a genetically engineered drug developed by Monsanto. The drug, which is injected into cows to boost milk production, increases levels of another hormone, IGF-1, which has been linked to breast, prostate, colon, lung and other cancers in humans.
Not only is rBGH dangerous to humans, but its use is considered inhumane as it causes a string of health problems in cows: painful udder infections, hoof problems and birth defects. To counter these health issues, dairy farmers use antibiotics, which in turn contributes to the rising threat of antibiotic resistance, as explained in a report by Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Oregon Chapter.
The synthetic growth hormone, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, is banned in Europe and Canada. I consider it on a par with aspartame, the neurotoxic carcinogenic artificial sweetener that is metabolized as formaldehyde and both of these chemical's FDA approval were rammed through the FDA by political means, rather than accurate scientific or medical regulatory processes.
rBGH was forced onto the market with the confluence and influence of Michael R. Taylor, a Monsanto executive who was later appointed by Obama to be FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food Safety. Taylor personifies the most grotesque example of the Revolving Doors at the FDA to accommodate their friends in industry.
Please see forthcoming (in a few days) article on dangers for humans from bovine growth hormones, as well as this prior article from September 2018:
Chhabria's time at Covington & Burling was short-lived. And while there's no solid evidence he represented Monsanto directly, the judge is "also no stranger to the world of corporate power and influence," notes Gillam.